Stellar weekend for SA paddlers as Hartley grabs bronze in Russia and SA K2s reign in Spain

South African paddlers lit up the canoeing headlines in Europe with sprint hero Bridgitte Hartley repeating her London Olympics bronze medal effort at the World Championships in Moscow, and South Africans river racers grabbing two podium places at the legendary Sella Descent in Spain.

Hartley came into the Sprint World Champs in Moscow having had a disrupted season, but showed her class and tactical acumen by racing well into the women’s 500m A final, and then using her trademark surge through the final 250 metres to clinch the bronze medal behind Hungarian ace Danuta Kozak and New Zealander Lisa Carrington.

The SASCOC Opex athlete was elated at the outcome, particularly as she had started the day concerned about her health. Hartley said the medal had given her a major confidence boost because she has made numerous changes to her training regime, and was now working closely with Craig Mustard in Pietermaritzburg. Later in the day Hartley added a solid seventh in the women’s 200m K1 final to her credit, wrapping up an excellent weekend for the South African team.

Under 23 speedster Crisjan Coetzee raced into the 200m K1 C final in his first senior world championship outing, with the crew of Ali Glass and Ant Collopy did just as well, making the 1000m C final. Hilton schoolboy Jono Wing also made a big impression, and was denied a shot at a final by a heavily loaded heat that saw him just miss out in his 200m K1 LTA para-canoeing category.
Meanwhile on Saturday South African paddlers powered to podium finishes in the men’s and women’s K2 races at the 78th Sella Descent in Spain, with Andy Birkett and Greg Louw finishing third overall, and Abby Adie and her partner Laura O’Donaghue shocking the race to convincingly win the women’s race. Robyn Kime finished sixth in the women’s K1 race. “It felt great to be back in a boat. The Sella is just crazy,” tweeted Kime, who has been taking a break from her paddling in recent months.

ICF SPRINT WORLD CHAMPS, MOSCOW
K1 W 500 Final A
1 Danuta Kozak HUN 1:49.283
2 Lisa Carrington NZL 1:49.790
3 Bridgitte Hartley RSA 1:50.496

SELLA DESCENT, ASTURIAS, SPAIN
OVERALL
1 Walter Bouzan/Alvar Sanchez 1:06:44
2 Emilion Merchan/Ivan Alonso 1:06:45
3 Andy Birkett/Greg Louw 1:06:47
WOMEN
1.Abby Adie/Laura O’Donaghue 1:16:59
2 Amaia Osaba/Sheila Barrios 1:19:15
3 Olatz Zabala Doiminguies/Amaia Babace 1:20:53
The 2014 ICF Canoe Sprint World Championships took place in Moscow, Russia from 6-10 August. More info can be found at www.canoemoscow2014.com or www.canoesa.org.za

Brigitte Hartley Worlds ed143 aug

Bridgitte Hartley repeated her London Olympic achievement by winning the bronze medal at the ICF Sprint World Champs in Moscow on the weekend. Pic: Balint Vekassy Gameplan Media